Earlier this month, cosmetics brand Lush, announced on social media that they are quitting social media. (Ironic, right?) Lush is a global brand known for their bath bombs, body care products, and makeup. The social media boycott applies only to the UK division, as Lush North America has announced it will continue to be active on all its social media channels.
What’s the Story?
View this post on Instagram
The Instagram announcement, shown above, included a caption that reads:
“We’re switching up social.
Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed. So we’ve decided it’s time to bid farewell to some of our social channels and open up the conversation between you and us instead.
Lush has always been made up of many voices, and it’s time for all of them to be heard. We don’t want to limit ourselves to holding conversations in one place, we want social to be placed back in the hands of our communities – from our founders to our friends.
We’re a community and we always have been. We believe we can make more noise using all of our voices across the globe because when we do we drive change, challenge norms and create a cosmetic revolution. We want social to be more about passions and less about likes.
Over the next week, our customer care team will be actively responding to your messages and comments, after this point you can speak us via live chat on the website, on email at email@example.com and by telephone: 01202 930051.”
Days later, the company posted another announcement across their social channels:
This caption reads:
We believe it’s time to stop talking, and start listening. So that’s what we’re doing.
You can still get sneak peeks and news from our inventors, founders, and everyone else who makes Lush what it is.
You can join in conversations with our staff, friends and shop social media accounts on their pages and on hashtags like #BathArt, #LushLabs, #LushMakeup (let’s face it, anything that starts with #lush).
Plus there are plenty of other places to take a dip into the Lush world, from our shops, events, and Customer Care team, to our digital platforms. Soak up fresh content on Lush Player and Lush.com, give feedback about exclusive products on Labs.lush.com, and engage with us and the latest digital experiments on the Lush Labs app.
Let’s spark passions, and stop chasing ‘likes’.
Here’s to the #LushCommunity, where all are welcome, always. ”
Though as of this writing the accounts are still active, they have not been updated since that status on April 15. Their social following is quite large, with 596,000 followers on Instagram, 423,000 on Twitter, and 202,000 on Facebook. It seems they don’t want to pay to play, so they’d rather use other channels to connect with their customers.
In addition to the main accounts, BBC reports they also plan to close accounts associated with Lush Kitchen, Lush Times, Lush Life, Soapbox, and Gorilla.
Ultimately, Lush UK isn’t getting the ROI on their social media efforts they consider high enough to justify continuing their current strategy. There’s nothing wrong with changing tactics when you find that something doesn’t work out the way you believe it should or the way you want it to. However, when this happens to most other brands, they shift their tactics without completely closing down their social channels.
Social media provides a connection to your audience, but it also provides your business with data you can use to provide better products and services. Letting go of it altogether doesn’t seem like a good move for the majority of today’s brands, especially considering social media is such a highly preferred customer service channel.
Why Lush North America Still Says Yes to Social
Lush North America, based in Canada, handles orders in the United States. They have no plans to stop the use of social media to connect with their audience. Unlike the UK division, it seems they don’t feel like social media is the middleman between themselves and their customers… or, they’re waiting until the decision can be supported in the North American market. Time will tell.
As of this writing, the Lush North America division has 4.4 million followers on Instagram, 313.4K followers on Twitter, and 1.2 million followers on Facebook. The difference in social following between UK and US could easily explain why the US division isn’t so ready to ditch social.
Could This Be a New Trend?
Instead of relying on branded social media channels, Lush says the new strategy will involve a rise of “Lush personalities” online. In a statement provided to The Independent, the company says, “This isn’t a replacement for the brand channels but an opportunity for our customers to connect one-on-one with people within Lush based on the various categories. This isn’t the end, it’s just the start of something new.”
I believe it means they’re switching from a pay-to-play model on social media to focusing their efforts on influencer marketing. I don’t believe many brands will follow in their footsteps, as it is possible to do both, and to do them both well.
The lack of social signals from the Lush UK side isn’t likely to harm their SEO efforts, because there will still be plenty of people discussing the brand online. I do find it somewhat baffling they’ve decided to abandon ship, but it’s clear they’ve gotten a lot of press as a result. Maybe it’s just a publicity stunt and they’ll return to social channels eventually. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
What do you think about their decision to shut down their social media channels? Would you consider doing the same to find other ways to connect directly with your audience? Talk to me in the comments!